I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

( 2 )

Overview

Christmas is coming, and one little girl wants nothing more than a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy. But will Santa Claus and her parents make her Christmas wish come true? As shown in his best-selling titles The Night Before Christmas and Here Comes Santa Claus, no one can portray the holidays better than Bruce Whatley; and he doesit again with I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.

The song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" was written in 1950 by John Rox and became a ...

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Overview

Christmas is coming, and one little girl wants nothing more than a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy. But will Santa Claus and her parents make her Christmas wish come true? As shown in his best-selling titles The Night Before Christmas and Here Comes Santa Claus, no one can portray the holidays better than Bruce Whatley; and he doesit again with I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.

The song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" was written in 1950 by John Rox and became a nationwide hit in 1953 when ten-year-old Oklahoma native Gayla Peevey sang the song as a way to raise money for the Oklahoma City Zoo's first hippopotamus. In December of that year the city received Matilda the hippo for Christmas.

An illustrated version of the song about a child who wants a hippopotamus for Christmas.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
John Rox's song lyrics for I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, illus. by Bruce Whatley, just go to show that the best gifts do come in big packages. Whatley's artwork captures the imagination of one girl's big dream as she pictures Santa delivering her present through the front door and harnessing her hefty pet to his sled as they fly through the night. Music and lyrics appear on the last page. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Even the Christmas cookies and the snowman look like hippos in this children's song turned into a picture book. If you know the illustrator's work (Looking for Crabs, Wait, No Paint, Diary of a Wombat), then you can already imagine the delightful blend of realistic people's faces and cartoon-like hippos, crocks, kangaroos (wrapped in Christmas paper), and a Christmas tree decorated with fruit and vegetables. "Teacher says a hippo is a vegetarian." The looks on the parents' faces is just how I would feel if my daughter's wish for a hippopotamus was granted by Santa. This little girl is convinced that no other pet will do, "No kangaroos or duckbill platypuses, I only like hippopotamuses." The last page is the best with the refrain "and hippopotamuses like me too" which shows her riding off in Santa's sleigh pulled by a flying hippo. If you can play an instrument then use the lyrics and musical score in the back matter to sing this with little people with a sense of humor. Otherwise, just read it aloud and enjoy the fun. 2005, HarperCollins, and Ages 3 to 6.
—Sheilah Egan
Kirkus Reviews
The words to a Christmas song from the 1950s serve as the text for this exploration of a most unusual Christmas gift. An unnamed little girl in pink pajamas is the first-person narrator, explaining in detail why she wants a hippopotamus as her present. Various views of the hippo are shown in a slightly confusing, nonlinear time sequence, but then why would time proceed in a straightforward fashion with a hippo in the house? Santa is shown pushing the hippo through the door, and the following pages show the little girl caring for her hippo, unwrapping it as a Christmas package (a different packaging treatment is shown on the cover), and then flying off with Santa as the hippo pulls the sleigh. Though the little girl and the words to the song are rather ordinary, the lively, lavender hippo in Whatley's illustrations is a delightful creature, with a big, pink bow on its head and expressive, bulging eyes. (In fact, that hippo deserves a name and a story of its own.) The music and song lyrics are included in the final spread. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060529420
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/27/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 72,139
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Whatley  is one of Australia's most highly regarded and talented authors and illustrators for children, both here and internationally. Bruce started his working life in advertising as an art director and illustrator and since then he has created over 60 picture books.  Many of his books have won awards both in Australia and overseas, including The Ugliest Dog in the World, Looking for Crabs, Tails from Grandad’s Attic and Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase

Bruce has co-written a number of award-winning books with his wife Rosie Smith (Whatley’s Quest, Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase and Little White Dogs Can’t Jump) and his son Ben Smith Whatley (Zoobots).

In 2002 Bruce paired with author Jackie French and illustrated Diary of a Wombat – an iconic picture book that has become an international best-seller with foreign sales to nine territories.  Diary of Wombat was the start of an extraordinary artistic collaboration that sparked the publication of Pete the Sheep, Josephine Wants to Dance, Shaggy Gully Times, Baby Wombat’s Week, Christmas Wombat and Wombat Goes to School. Plus two delightful books about Queen Victoria, being Queen Victoria’s Underpants and Queen Victoria’s Christmas.

 One of the most remarkable aspects of Bruce’s talent is the breadth of his artistic ability, which includes an appealing cartoon style to realistic representations using mediums ranging from coloured pencils, watercolour, acrylic and oils, and more recently, 3D digital software. 

And accompanying that talent is an intellectual depth and curiosity that sees Bruce taking on large and complex projects, such as The Beach They Called Gallipoli, which is being co-created with Jackie French and will be published in 2014 to coincide with the centenary of WW1.

In 2008 Bruce completed his PhD titled Left Hand Right Hand: implications of ambidextrous image making. In his thesis Bruce looked at the image making of the non-dominant hand, making the fascinating discovery that in most people the ability to draw lies in the use of the ‘other’ hand.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

    Great Book!!!

    I bought this book for my 6 year old niece and she loved it. She has loved the song and I was looking for a book similar to it. I came across this book that I believe is based off of the christmas song and she loved it! Great to give as a comical or memorable gift. This is something they definitely will never forget. I also bought her the christmas cd with the song and that just made it perfect.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    Great book

    Great book my daughter learned to sing the song after reading and sang it to all her animal friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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